Fairholme College is this year celebrating its centenary of education at Wirra Wirra Street.

The first six junior school students arrived by horsedrawn bus at the site to begin their classes on 17 July, 1917. Senior school students joined them some six months later.

Actually the origins of Fairholme, as it has subsequently become known, had their foundation when sisters Elizabeth, Jessie and Margaret Thomson opened the Spreyton College for girls in 1908. The following year the sisters sought, and were granted, the patronage of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland.

With enrolments increasing, the Presbyterian Ladies College Board, which had been established in 1915 and had taken over Spreyton, decided two years later to acquire a larger property.

At that stage Mrs Margaret Cameron, the matriarch of the pioneering Cameron family, offered ‘Fairholme’ her property on the range, for purchase.

So in July 1917 primary students were relocated from Spreyton to Fairholme and at the beginning of 1918 the senior students

were moved to the Wirra Wirra Street site.

With Miss Amy Carson as Principal of the Presbyterian Girls College, Fairholme Toowoomba was officially opened on 12 August 1918 with the roll comprising 28 boarders and 38 day girls.

Although generally known as Fairholme from those days, the title of Fairholme College, a college of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland, was not officially adopted until March 1978.

Miss Carson retired as Principal in 1919 and was followed by Miss Nancy Jobson, who headed the college for the next two years. After being appointed Principal in 1922 Miss Daisy Culpin guided the college through a period of growth and then the difficult years of the Depression.

In 1940 she was succeeded by Miss Jean Tassie, who was renowned for her ingenuity and work ethic during World War II when enrolments rose to 170. This was partly due to an influx of students resulting from the closure of a number of Brisbane schools.

A post-war building program was overseen by Rev Norman Joughin, who was Principal from 1949 until 1951. In 1953, the Fairholme

Parents & Friends Association, which has since become a valued supporter of the college, was formed.

In 1954, experienced educator Miss Nancy Shaw became Fairholme’s Principal. In almost 15 years at the helm, an assembly hall was opened, a swimming pool was constructed, a new science block was built and enrolments increased to 370 students, of which 157 were boarders.

The college went through troubled times in the 1970s but these issues began being resolved with the appointment of Mr Allan Faragher as Principal in 1980. Discipline tightened, morale improved, enrolments increased, new facilities were constructed, finances improved and so did Fairholme’s management. More than 750 students were enrolled when Mr Faragher retired in 1994. The college’s standing and reputation continued on an upward spiral through the 15 years Mr Stan Klan occupied the Principal’s office.

On his retirement in 2009, Dr Linda Evans became Principal and she has ensured that Fairholme is retaining its place as one of Queensland’s leading independent girls schools.